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In California, a Victory for Trump in Tax Return Fight

State's high court strikes down law requiring candidates to submit tax returns
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 21, 2019 2:10 PM CST
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In this Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference in Webster, Texas.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
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(Newser) – President Trump does not have to disclose his tax returns to appear as a candidate on California’s primary ballot next spring, a unanimous state Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The court said the law, the first of its kind in the nation and aimed squarely at Trump, was unconstitutional because it required disclosure of tax returns to qualify for the ballot, the AP reports. “This additional requirement ... is in conflict with the Constitution’s specification of an inclusive open presidential primary ballot,” Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in the 7-0 decision. “Ultimately, it is the voters who must decide whether the refusal of a ‘recognized candidate throughout the nation or throughout California for the office of President of the United States’ to make such information available to the public will have consequences at the ballot box.”

A US judge had temporarily blocked the state law in response to a different lawsuit, and the high court ruled quickly because the deadline to file tax returns for getting on the primary ballot is next week. The state Republican Party and chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson challenged the bill signed into law this year by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom because it singled out Trump. “Today’s ruling is a victory for every California voter,” Patterson said in a statement. “We are pleased that the courts saw through the Democrats’ petty partisan maneuvers and saw this law for what it is—an unconstitutional attempt to suppress Republican voter turnout." Trump has cited an ongoing Internal Revenue Service audit in refusing to release his returns, a battle he continues to wage on multiple fronts.

(Read more Trump tax return stories.)

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